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Barack Obama ('04-'08)

Chimp Nation.


Hope is on the…wait, what’s this? Oops, sorry about that. Turns out Hope took a wrong turn and got lost somewhere back there in Idiotville. Welcome to Despairtown, baby.

So, that’s that, then…the Idiot Wind blows anew. The American electorate has spoken and — despite all the shadiness and incompetence of the past four years — has given Dubya and his cronies the imprimatur to go hog-wild. 51-48%…this is pretty much a mandate, folks. (Big of those Red Staters to ensure that we will be woefully unprepared for the next terrorist attack on a Blue State.) Y’know, H.L. Mencken‘s whole Tyranny of the Booboisie schtick has always grated on my lefty sensibilities, but at this point I have to admit he may have been on to something.

Ugh. I’m too young to remember 1984 very well, but I’m curious as to how last night and this morning compared for America’s Left. (I’ve since been reminded by several people I trust that 1968 and 1972 were much more grievous blows.) Thing is, 2004 started out with such promise over here. But, right around the time I ended up on crutches in May, events personal and political took a nasty turn, and the past few months have been some of the most dismal I can remember. Now, it seems, I may just look back on this time as relatively calm and worry-free.

But, ok, enough wallowing…let’s start taking it frame-by-frame. Given the war, the economy, and Dubya’s obvious incompetence, how on Earth did we lose this election? Well, give credit where credit is due…all this exit-talk of “moral values” proves that Karl Rove pulled off his gambit: He got the extra 4 million evangelical votes he was targeting, partly, it seems, by judiciously invoking rampant anti-gay hysteria. Yet, for some reason or another — a lousy ground game, perhaps? — the Dems inexplicably didn’t counter with extra votes of our own.

Where do we go from here? The Dems are facing an ugly Rule of Four…We lost four seats in the Senate, at least four seats in the House, and likely four seats in the Supreme Court. Whatsmore, we now appear officially dead in the water in the South and Midwest. And, with Kerry and Daschle gone, our standard-bearers now appear to be Hillary Clinton (about whom the country has already made up its mind), John Edwards (whom I still admire, but he couldn’t carry his home state), and Barack Obama (who’s probably too inexperienced to make much headway in 2008.)

Obviously, it’s now well past time for the serious party overhaul we should’ve began last cycle, when Al Gore had an election stolen from him that he should have won hands down. Daschle & Gephardt are already in the dustbin of history, and Terry McAuliffe should probably follow them there. I for one don’t think Howard Dean was or is the answer, but he’s one of the only people injecting new blood and enthusiasm into the party right now, so he should have a seat at the table. Right now, I think Edwardsian populism is our strongest ideological card, but as I said, it didn’t seem to make much headway last night.

Silver lining? Yeah, right. Well, as this Washington Monthly forum noted in September, second terms are notoriously scandal-prone (Watergate, Iran-Contra, Monica), partly out of press boredom, and Dubya’s ilk seem particularly scandal-worthy…perhaps we’ll finally hear a little more about Halliburton. I’m sure there’ll be no shortage of horrifying policy decisions emanating from this administration that’ll keep lefty blogs like this one in business. And, on a purely selfish note, my likely dissertation topic on the fortunes of progressivism in the twenties is now seeming much more sexy in the wake of last night’s 1928-like cultural divide. Of course, none of these are really any consolation at all.

At any rate, I generally believe that America tends to get the president it deserves. So, God help us, we’ve brought this upon ourselves. And now, for we 48%, the hard work begins…we have to lick our wounds, get our act together, and figure out how we can best combat the rightward drift that’s afflicting our nation. Alas, I fear Dubya will do much of the heavy lifting for us, by running the nation further into the ground over the next four years. Still, we gotta keep on keeping on, y’all. I do not believe this darkness will endure.

Discussion

7 Responses to “Chimp Nation.”

  1. This strategy of putting these ancillary constitutional amendments on the ballot, as an underhanded way to increase turnout and mobilize the extreme right-wingers—is so infuriating. They won by appealing to these ill-informed people’s fears not just of terrorism but, also to their hatred of homosexuals (and we all know that hate comes from fear to begin with). Couldn’t the Dems have put together something similar on stem cell research or something non-voting Dems would show up for? Or, are the Democrats that aren’t regular voters are just more apathetic, what would they show up for—if not for ousting this dangerous buffoon? Then what?

    Posted by Bella | November 3, 2004, 2:22 pm
  2. Kerry’s message: Stronger at home, respected in the world. Red-stater’s response to him: we don’t trust you on homeland security and we’re more worried about gay people having civil rights, or rather making sure they don’t have them. Respect in the world: we don’t care about the world–we’ve never left Kansas and don’t plan to, don’t care what those fruity foreigners think (back to the homophobia—see making a full circle here). It all comes down to fear vs. rationality.

    Posted by Bella | November 3, 2004, 3:28 pm
  3. Perhaps it’s time to dust off that balanced budget amendment and use it against the Republicans in ’06?

    Posted by Leper Messiah | November 3, 2004, 6:52 pm
  4. Hey, so where does this election fit on the Donnie Darko “Fear-Love” spectrum?

    Posted by Mark | November 4, 2004, 12:00 am
  5. “… with Kerry and Daschle gone”?? John Kerry is still my senator, so he’s not gone. 55 million people voted for Kerry, and I sure hope he doesn’t go the Al Gore route of keeping a low post-election profile. Blue staters and social progressives still need a voice in Washington. We need to demand accountability from BushCo. And until the Democrats get their act together, Kerry remains the best outlet for our voices. And yes, I fully realize BushCo will paint him as a sore loser as soon as he speaks up, but what does he have to lose at this point? His senate seat in Massachusetts? Not likely.

    Posted by Ron | November 4, 2004, 10:16 am
  6. That’s true, Ron. But the American people can’t abide a loser, and I think they’ll chalk up much of what he says as sour grapes. Besides, unless we decide to go good cop-bad cop, the Dem response to Dubya II should help to profile our 2008 contenders.

    Posted by Kevin | November 4, 2004, 11:33 am

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